In one case, a brother and sister are using their salaries to pay for the education of their little sister as they were orphans and ordinarily the little girl would have also been made to work. We support all of these efforts by supplementing what they earn and
contributing books and materials in kind.
At the lodge we like to encourage families to spend time exploring the lodge grounds and also the buffer zone and villages around us. There are bicycles for the use of guests and our naturalists are happy to take you for a walk or drive. For children, we design activities related to the environment and
conservation. These require careful planning as they are designed based on
both the ages of the children involved as well as the time available to us.
In addition, we can design special programs for people who are interested
in wildlife photography or indeed for those with a more scientific interest
in wildlife conservation. Slide shows and talks based on our work form the
base for many evening discussions.
Nanda and I have always believed that it is very important to work with
children and to introduce them as early on as possible to the concepts of
eco-friendly living, sustainable lifestyles and conservation issues. We
have written a book for children aged between 2 and 6 called 'Takdir - the
tiger cub', a bilingual book published in 29 languages. We have given slide
shows and talks on tigers and their conservation in schools and colleges in
India, Nepal, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. At
Singinawa, we now offer a special package for groups of school children,
where we design special customized activities for the group, based on their
age groups, time schedules and backgrounds. In addition for any group of 12 or more children under the age of 18 with valid identity cards from their
school and accompanied by teachers, we offer a 40% discount on standard rates.
In order to be able to make a difference to the community and ecosystem
around us, we have established the Singinawa Foundation. We
have bought 18 acres of land for the model farm that we want to establish to
teach villagers about the use of indigenous plants to augment their incomes and improve lifestyles. Some species have also been identified as having medicinal properties and village women are trained to identify and use these. In collaboration with the local school we plan to build a classroom for village school.
Here the parents of the school children will be donating free labor, the village panchayat will be donating the land and we will help with the purchase of material. Our work with buffer zone protection has also begun
and we are in discussions with the local people of the area about participatory conservation and management practices and their implementation. The Singinawa Foundation work will take time to gain momentum but a strong beginning has been made. By buying the land for the farm we have managed to prevent the expansion of the Baihar town across the river. Rapid development in the past two years has shown us how important this will be in the coming years for the protection of the buffer zone of Kanha Tiger Reserve.